A row of terraced beach houses on stilts in the sea at sunset
Photo by ssebcan  –  Link

Helsingborg

Sweden

Perched just across the ├śresund Strait from Denmark, Helsingborg in Southern Sweden is the kind of city that even if you don't quite know what you're looking for, you'll still find it anyway. With an attractive waterfront, a quaint old town full, a centre full of castle ruins and charming churches, as well as a busy shopping district, a thriving cultural side and a range of beautiful open spaces encompassing everything from beaches to woodland trails, it really has got something for everyone. Add in its chilled out atmosphere, selection of hip cafes and great restaurants, plush spas and saunas, and you've got yourself the perfect place for a few days of quintessentially Swedish rest and relaxation.

What to do in Helsingborg

Visit a bathhouse - The sauna is a big part of Swedish culture and there has been a cold bathhouse - that is, a sauna with direct access to the sea so you can take an icy plunge afterwards - in Helsingborg for over 150 years. Today, there are three, so you're spoilt for choice.

Embrace the cultural city - One of Helsingborg's big bragging points is its vibrant arts and culture scene, and at the heart of this is the Dunkers Kulturhus, which hosts exhibitions and shows from artists and performers, as well as language cafes, lunch lectures, debates, workshops and storytelling sessions. Check their website to see what's on during your visit.

Channel your inner royal at Sofiero Castle - Located roughly five kilometres outside of Helsingborg, this former royal residence is considered one of the most beautiful in the country. Its stunning gardens are worth a visit all year round, but it is most famous for its rhododendron bloom, which occurs around the end of May every year; having been first planted by Crown Princess Margaret over 110 years ago, it's quite the spectacle to see over 10,000 of these colourful flowers burst into life.

Live like a local

Helsingborg likes to think of itself as the "friendliest city in Sweden", and while it's a big claim, it might actually be true. Not content with simply handing out friendly hellos when you order a coffee or offering advice through its tourist board, the city actually has a whole team of local volunteers - or 'greeters' as they're known - who will take visitors out and show them around town.

Take a day trip to Denmark

The ferry between Helsingborg and Elsinore, Denmark, leaves every 15 minutes during the day and takes just 20 minutes. Famed for being the setting for Shakespeare's Hamlet, this city has more than enough to keep you busy for a day, including Kronburg Castle, a maritime museum and the Danish Museum of Science and Technology. Those who fancy an international night on the tiles are in luck too, with ferries leaving every hour throughout the night.

Explore places in Helsingborg